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Wednesday May 29, 2013Gators Ready for WCWS Opening Round Thursday Versus Tennessee, 2:30 p.m. on ESPN

Oklahoma City, Okla.

WATCH: Florida Head Coach Tim Walton and Senior Kelsey Horton at WCWS Press Conference

FLORIDA WCWS GAME NOTES

 

The 2013 Women’s College World Series kicks off Thursday for the No. 2 seed Florida Gators and the Orange and Blue will open action in Oklahoma City at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium against SEC Eastern Division rival Tennessee at 2:30 p.m. ET.

 

FLORIDA vs. TENNESSEE BROADCAST INFORMATION

TIME: 2:30 p.m. ET | TV: ESPN2 | WatchESPN.com | Live Stats | 105 The Game

 

The Gators and Lady Vols have never met in the NCAA Tournament, but have met nine times in the SEC Tournament for a 5-4 all-time record in postseason play against UT, including 4-1 under head coach Tim Walton. Florida edged out Tennessee for the SEC regular-season title in 2013, while also taking two-of-three from the Lady Vols in Gainesville during the regular-season set. The last four meetings between Florida and Tennessee have all gone eight innings. Florida leads the all-time history of the series, 43-20, including a 4-3 record on neutral ground. Under Walton, UF is 21-7 against the Lady Vols.

 

Florida is 11-9 all-time in the WCWS, having been a league-best four straight times from 2008-11, and has played in the Championship Series twice (2009 vs. Washington & 2011 vs. ASU). The Gators are making their fifth WCWS appearance in the last six years (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013) and just three current Florida players have played at the WCWS scene: Seniors Kelsey Horton (Valrico, Fla.) and Ensley Gammel (Bakersfield, Calif.) & junior Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.). Last time out in the WCWS in 2011, UF fought off two elimination games against SEC foe Alabama in the WCWS semifinals to make its second Championship Series. The Orange and Blue now own a 48-29 (.623) all-time record in the NCAA Tournament, including a 43-19 (.694) record under eighth year head coach Tim Walton.

 

Should Florida advance, it would play the winner of Washington/Nebraska Friday at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN at Hall of Fame Stadium.

 

Read more about UF’s match-up with Tennessee in the WCWS opener in the Gators’ postseason supplement.

 

WCWS PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES

FLORIDA HEAD COACH TIM WALTON

Opening comment:
“First of all, thank you to the NCAA, ASA and the University of Oklahoma for hosting a great event. We’re excited to be here. It’s probably one of the best fields that I’ve seen -- obviously why we got a lot of television coverage. A great wide-open field with a lot of talent. Oklahoma being in this tournament obviously brings added extra excitement with all the fans and exposure, and it’s just great for the game. The game’s in great hands with all the great student-athletes that represent each institution here, and on the field. A really good class of student-athletes here.”

 

On facing SEC foe Tennessee to start the tournament:
“I think the preparation is obviously a little bit different. You don’t have to watch as much video, you don’t have to break out some old video and try to get a lot of scouting reports from other people. So preparation is a lot different. I would probably assume that it’s good. Our kids are familiar. On the bad side of things, we’re very familiar with Tennessee and how good they are, so it kind of gives them the same preparation. So the goods and the bads; it’s tough to come all this way to play an SEC team, but if I did it every year from here on out I’d do it every time. It’s not a bad thing to be in. It is exciting, but in the same sense we know how good Tennessee is. It’s tough to get prepared for someone like that and we’ve always played tough games every year.”

 

On returning to Oklahoma after last week’s tornado in Moore:
“My wife is from Oklahoma, and we were glued to the TV for two, three days, probably like everyone else across the country. It’s very different when you’re familiar with the area and you know the streets and the paths. I was here in ’99 (for the Moore tornado) and was here for the bombing (in 1995), as a player, so I understand what those kinds of devastating things can do. One of the things I’ve been pretty open about is that I came to (the University of) Oklahoma as a player from California because of the people and how well they treated me and how well they treated the Sooners. I know that’s what people do. There are so many people that are willing to help and do a lot of things. This area hosts this tournament because of what they’ve done. They’ve hosted the Big 12 tournament, the Big Eight tournament before that, just because of how open-armed they are and what they’re willing to do and bend over backwards for people. It’s tough. My daughter, who’s young, was very scared thinking something had happened to our family who lives fairly close. With kids losing their lives, it’s very humbling and very sad in the same sense. The state of Oklahoma, the city of Oklahoma City, the city of Moore and all the surrounding area will do like they always have done; band together, get outside help and rebound and be better and stronger for it. I’m convinced of that.”

 

FLORIDA SENIOR OUTFIELDER KELSEY HORTON

On the strength of Florida’s freshman class:

“I think they came in humble and willing and ready to work. As a senior, I really appreciate their efforts. I’m so happy for their success and I’m so proud they’ve filled some really big shoes this year.”

 

On facing SEC foe Tennessee to start the tournament:
“I’m excited. I think every matchup from here on out is going to be a good one, no matter what conference the teams come from. I’m just really excited.”

 

On giving advice to younger players about the WCWS experience:
“I’ve had them ask some questions, but I think it’s just more out of excitement rather than any nerves. I don’t see any nerves in them, which is great. I think they’re just really excited to play in the stadium. I think that attitude has carried us this whole year, just being fearless and being able to play recklessly without worrying about the circumstances too much.”

 

 

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